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Laura Putnam      

Author of "Workplace Wellness That Works;" CEO & Founder of Motion Infusion

Laura Putnam is best known as the author of "Workplace Wellness That Works," and is a leading expert in wellbeing, motivation, innovation, and human performance. A former urban public high school teacher, international community organizer, dancer, and gymnast, Putnam is now a movement builder in the world of health and wellness.

Putnam speaks at conferences, companies, and associations around the world for audiences as large as 3,000 people and has shared the stage with such notables as Dan Buettner, author of "Blue Zones." Her unique style of speaking combines relevant science with meaningful stories and a good dose of humor. With a mission to get people “in motion,” she guides team members, managers, and leaders in discovering how to get big results with simple steps.

As CEO of Motion Infusion, a well-being training and consulting firm, Putnam works with a range of organizations from Fortune 500s to nonprofits to academic institutions, helping each to build a culture of wellbeing. Her recent media appearances include MSNBC, Fox News, USA Today, and NPR.

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, and The American Journal of Health Promotion, and she is a regular columnist for the Journal of Compensation and Benefits. Putnam teaches at Stanford University, served as adjunct faculty member at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is the recipient of the American Heart Association’s “2020 Impact” award, as well as the National Wellness Institute’s “Circle of Leadership” award. A graduate of Stanford University and Brown University, Putnam lives in San Francisco with her fiancé.

Speech Topics

The Multiplier Effect of Well-Being

What the best team leaders do differently.

While wellness may not be part of the job description, every manager is uniquely positioned to make or break their team members’ well-being. Problem is, most manager view wellness as being outside of their scope, disconnected from the bottom line, and something to be addressed by HR. But, the extent to which employees are well largely comes down to leaders, especially managers. Senior leaders are needed to set the tone for well-being at work, and managers effectively serve as the conduits of well-being for their team members. Therefore, every team leader must consider: Am I acting as a multiplier, or am I acting as a gatekeeper? This session demonstrates the critical role that managers play in embedding wellness into the fabric of business as usual, and the specific steps that each can take to become a Multiplier of Well-Being.

Key points:

  • Why well-being is essential to enhanced engagement, productivity and organizational excellence.

  • How every manager holds the key to promoting well-being at work.

  • Three strategies that every manager can implement to carve out an oasis of well-being for their team.

Target Audience: Senior leaders, managers, HR/wellness/benefits

Workplace Wellness that Works

10 steps to infuse well-being into any organization.

The evidence is clear: a healthier, happier workforce is good for people, good for the bottom line and essential for building a winning team. Employee well-being in all dimensions, including physical, emotional, social and financial, are critical for an organization’s success. But, are workplace wellness programs actually working? Evidence suggests most don’t. Over 80% of eligible employees are opting out and rates of stress and poor health continue to soar. Learn about how you can get workplace to work and why you should – especially now. You will away with a 10-step template to measurably improve the health and vitality of your employees. We’ll touch on industry hot topics, such as effective ways to inspire behavior change, the truth behind motivation, and the interconnectivity between culture and well-being. We’ll also dive into creative tactics that aren’t being talked about, such as “going stealth” – a strategy that calls for “sneaking” wellness into non-wellness initiatives. You’ll come away inspired and armed with tangible techniques to elicit higher rates of engagement, more leadership support, and finally a well-being program that actually works.

Key points:

  • Instead of a program, start a movement.

  • How to cultivate an environment and culture that supports well-being.

  • How to build human-centric well-being.

Target Audience: Senior leaders, HR/wellness/benefits

Born to Move, Told to Sit

Our future in the balance.

Jerry Seinfeld once joked about how we load up into cars, just to unload into restaurants, movie seats, or back to our own living room couch. Americans sit a lot – on average, over 10 hours a day. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has joined us. From classrooms where kids sit for hours at a time to workplaces that keep people in front of computers to groceries that are delivered to our homes, our society is built around us sitting. Meanwhile, we are inundated by a stream of fad exercises and news stories about the dangers of sitting. We’re told: “Move more, sit less!” And, we are left to feel that we’re failing ourselves and that we are to blame. The truth is that our society literally mandates us to sit. This session unpacks the “biological-cultural” mismatch we’re up against – and provides a path forward.

Key points:

  • We are born to move (along with restore, get enough rest, connect with others, eat well, etc.). When we move, we get healthier, happier, smarter.

  • But we are told to sit (and always be on, etc.). We are culturally mandated to sit.

  • Here’s what we can do about it: Rewrite the script to acknowledge that we are more Creatures of Culture (as opposed to Creatures of Habit), Leverage spheres of influence (policy, community, workplace, teams) and activate key influencers (leaders, managers, teachers, parents, peer influencers).

Target Audience: General

Wellness Privilege

What is it and what can we do about it?

While the dime-a-dozen self-help book would have you believe that healthier habits are well within reach, this session shows why that may not be the case. Privilege plays a role not only in achieving the American Dream, but also in achieving optimal health and well-being. Meanwhile, in the world of health and wellness, the “Take personal responsibility for your health and well-being” mantra continues to prevail – and the role that privilege plays continues to be underestimated. This session awakens attendees to the bigger picture of instilling healthy habits. It’s much more than building a positive mindset, setting SMART goals, finding the right digital device or getting a reward. Habits are never formed or carried out in a vacuum. Rather, they are formed within the context of circles of cultural and environmental influence – or ecosystems. Moreover, there are systems at work within each of these circles that need to be addressed. This is where privilege, or more specifically, Wellness Privilege comes into the picture. This session unpacks what every organization, team and individual can do to make a difference – and why they should.

Key points:

  • Why the call for taking personal responsibility is not enough.

  • How some of us are imbued with more wellness privilege than others.

  • Ways that we can take collective action.

  • Things that we can each do to make a difference.

Target Audience: General


A LinkedIn Live with Laura Putnam and Jim Harter: The Optimism Imperative
Join Laura and Jim as they sit down to talk about optimism, what it really means, and how it can impact both you and your workplace.

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